If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Posted Feb 19th 2010
Ah, The Secret of Kells, one of the oscar nominated films that has recently been taking the oscars by storm and is now a runner up for best animated film alongside the likes of the Up, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline and The Princess and the Frog. For many, this is a film that has seemed to have came out of nowhere and they are most definitely quite curious about this film, as they should be.
The Secret of Kells is done in a fashion that is going to remind most viewers of the animation style of the sadly cancelled show Samurai Jack and the original television series of the Star Wars Clone Wars series that ran before the pitiful excuse of an animated movie came out. It is done in this fashion and yet it becomes something more than that mere style of animation alone, it becomes what feels like a colliage of different animation styles all being melded together to make one satisfying stew.
Kells centers around a walled off kingdom known as Kells, that is being built and plans aided over by Abbott Cellach (Brendan Gleesan) for when the vikings come to attack and slaughter their people they will hopefully be prepared. You don't quite see the vikings at first and for the most part it's not a fairly violent film but when you do see the vikings they are far from Disney-fied versions, they are the real deal and you see why the Abbott wants that wall built up in that first place.
They aren't mere vikings from the animation. They are monsters stepped out of nightmares and in their wake they bring death, havoc and what would most likely be taken for the Apocalypse. There's something even slightly demonic about their presence as well.
Brendan (Evan McGuire) is the young little sprout who merely wants to just hear about the book that the Abbott has talked about at times, an animated book that has great powers indeed. He acts responsible but you really get to knowing that deep down he realizes that there is a whole world out there beyodn the mere safety of this little walled off world and what it may hold in store for him.
And of course he finds it in Brother Aiden (Mick Lally), come from long a far with the book that has long been talked about and who has the experience of seeing the world outside of Kells. Aiden needs Brendan in fulfilling the prophecies of this animated book and that is where the true adventure really begins.
The animation in this is exquisite and just plain gorgeous to behold. It very much is the style of Samurai Jack and the other aforementioned show but it becomes something more entirely with the subtle usage of CGI throughout. It may not be a digitally animated film like something the amazing Pixar would do but in terms of more traditional and older animation it is certainly done in a new and fascinating way for that type of animation. It both manages to feel both older in terms of animation and yet modern at the same time.
If there was anything that I could say to possibly downgrade the film it would feel like that there was something more in the story that felt left out. Watch the film and it feels like it was missing a slight part of a thrid act. It's not really HUGELY noticeable but I felt it nonetheless.
Other than that I really don't have any issues for the most part with the film. When Brendan goes on his adventures of fulfilling the book's prophecies there is definitely a visually beautiful and creative edge that makes it stand apart from more traditionally animated films. His encounter in the cave with the creatures is most definitely one of them or the Vikings finally managing to start targeting villages outside of Kells is another.
even love the voice cast for this film. Brendan Gleeson makes another great animated turn (previously for Beowulf) as the Abott and really, who doesn't love Brendan Gleeson these days?
While I'm certainly rooting for The Fantastic Mr. Fox or Coraline for the wins on best animated film win, I'm at least glad to see The Secret of Kells get that prestigious oscar nomination. Hopefulyl anyof these win over Up though, not a film that I hate (I love the film) but there are films that are far more deserving than it this year.